Bahamas Red Cross deploys disaster response teams as powerful Hurricane Matthew arrives

Published: 6 October 2016 2:37 CET

The Bahamas Red Cross has dispatched experienced disaster response teams to help the country’s Social Public Services respond to the needs of storm-hit communities as Hurricane Matthew slams into the Bahamas, after lashing Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Staff and volunteers of the National Society of Nassau prepared 1,200 food kits to distribute to impacted families that include canned food, rice, flour and sugar – enough food for 6,000 people for three days.

Ahead of the storm, the Bahamas Red Cross used its ambulances to evacuate people living in areas most exposed to floods and landslides on the island of New Providence—bringing them to one of 20 shelters that are being run by Social Services, with the help of Red Cross staff and volunteers.

Diane Turnquest, deputy director of the Bahamas Red Cross, expressed concern about the welfare of many people, especially the elderly, who did not want to leave their homes, in spite of the risks:

“Those who did not seek refuge in shelters may need urgent assistance, which is more difficult to provide once the hurricane is making its impact on land,” she said.  “Our teams will do everything possible to respond to the disaster and meet the needs of those affected.”

With limited transportation, and shops and gas stations closed due to the hurricane, the Red Cross pre-positioned emergency supplies and expects to be delivering them in the days ahead.